Church World Service to Obama: Hunger, immigration reform among top priorities

On U.S.-Cuba relations, agency says ‘Time has come for real progress’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter aimed at bringing attention to major issues of concern for humanitarian agency Church World Service, President and CEO John L. McCullough urged President Barack Obama to seek increased foreign assistance for hungry and impoverished people and to lead the way to “fair and generous” immigration reform.

Church World Service made its recommendations in a January 9 letter to the President. on issues ranging from humanitarian aid and conflict resolution in the Middle East to policies and actions that reduce tension and increase dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba.

McCullough applauded President Obama for vowing to pursue immigration reform during the second term. He recommended that the reforms include initiatives aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship, reuniting families and improving the refugee resettlement program.

McCullough said, “The highest priority is to create a fair and generous process by which undocumented immigrants can earn lawful permanent residency, with a pathway to citizenship.”

CWS, which provides refugee resettlement and immigration legal services, is one of nine national voluntary agencies that work with the federal government and a nationwide network of local agencies to resettle refugees across the United States.

A humanitarian agency that has for decades maintained close relationships with the people and churches of Cuba, CWS acknowledged President Obama for his 2011 Executive Order granting U.S. religious organizations a general license for travel to Cuba and for remittances to Cuban religious organizations—and encouraged the President to press for an end to the Cuba travel ban for all U.S. citizens.

Urging the Administration to adopt policies that “reduce tension and increase dialogue between the two governments,” McCullough said, “Surely the time for real progress has come. Renewed dialogue serves humanitarian objectives and holds the promise of long-term mutual benefits.”

At the top of the hunger-fighting agency’s agenda is the request that the United States ramp up global efforts to ensure that children receive sufficient nutrition – including nutritional supplements in areas of high malnutrition. Such initiatives are particularly important for young children because malnutrition in the early years can result in stunted physical growth and poor mental development.

In earlier statements, McCullough has called the provision of nutritional assistance to young children, impoverished people and disaster survivors, not just an integral part of creating lasting food security, but “an act of faith.”

The agency has heightened its advocacy for greater world attention and funding for vulnerable children as well as intensifying the nutrition focus of its own food security and agriculture programs abroad.

The letter also commends the President’s Feed the Future Initiative, which directs U.S. international agricultural assistance to small-scale farmers, especially women, as part of a global commitment to increase food security for low income communities across the world.

On other issues, McCullough asked the President to set a goal to end hunger within 10 to 15 years; to use the diplomacy and resources necessary to support a “just and sustainable” resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and to provide relief for the millions of people suffering inside embattled Syria and the hundreds of thousands forced into neighboring countries.

Related Articles

Back to top button